A Morning of Faith and Friendship: Sister Catherine's Confirmation Gathering

12/06/2023 9:56 am

On a Sunday afternoon in fall, before Mass at St. Joseph Church in Friendship, Wisconsin, Franciscan Sister of Perpetual Adoration Catherine Kaiser of La Crosse gathered with three youth preparing to be confirmed — Xander Cook, Gwen Gransee and Veronica Cychol — and three adults walking with them on their journeys. Margaret de Pereiro, a friend of Sister Catherine’s and Saint Joseph parishioner, also joined the morning session. Sister Catherine led a meditation, emphasizing God’s love and care. She talked about Jesus’ baptism, their baptism and the significance of confirmation, explaining the gifts of the Holy Spirit: wisdom, understanding, counsel, fortitude, knowledge, piety and fear of the Lord.

Sister Catherine explained that during confirmation, each youth would be sealed with chrism, the holy oil, receiving gifts through the Holy Spirit. She reassured Xander, Gwen and Veronica that they are special and energetic, emphasizing the parish’s acknowledgment and value of each one of them. Following the meditation, adults engaged in one-on-one discussions with them, addressing their future paths and roles within the Church.

Xander spoke with his father, Gwen with her confirmation sponsor and Veronica with her teacher. After these conversations, the group gathered together, and Margaret shared the inspiring story of Blessed Carlo Acuits, a young man dedicated to cataloging Eucharistic miracles. It was a fitting time to talk about Carlo, who is known to have said “To always be close to Jesus, that’s my plan,” as his feast day is in October.

Sister Catherine also told a story about Father Dave Bruener, the parish pastor, illustrating his helpfulness during Easter preparations in their shared parish.

Her visit to Saint Joseph was viewed as a blessing, and her commitment to service was evident. The gathering echoed Matthew 18:20 — “For where two or three are gathered together in my name, I am there among them.” It was a morning centered on Jesus; a time for teaching, sharing stories and being in the presence of Jesus.

This was Sister Catherine’s second visit to the Saint Joseph Parish in Friendship. She visited last year to speak about her friend and fellow sister, Franciscan Sister of Perpetual Adoration Thea Bowman, showing the youth video clips of Sister Thea and sharing stories about their friendship in their younger days as women religious.

Young people don’t often get a chance to meet someone from a religious order while growing up in a small community, and the impact of witnessing Sister Catherine get out there and interact with young and old — as a friend to the confirmands who need her example, a friend to a priest who needs a boost of confidence, a friend to a faith-formation leader who seeks affirmation and a friend to sit side by side with in the front pew at Mass — is so important. Sister Catherine has created friendship in Friendship!

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